Saturday, 31 January 2009

Lovely books!

My books arrived! For my birthday my Mum gave me her card and told me to order a few books I was after from Amazon (sadly she did give me a limit). So, being a new (and extremely enthusiastic) convert to knitting I got Stitch_'n_bitch_nation, The_Knitter's_Bible, Anticraft, and Domiknitrix. I bought Happy_Hooker with a voucher my brother and his partner gave me, to aid me in my struggles with learning to crochet. That lot should keep me busy for a while :-)

We had a fantastic day yesterday, decided to have a day out in Inverness as we both had vouchers and birthday money burning a hole in our pockets. First we met up with Granny for lunch, she was through for a tutorial for her Scottish history course at the college. Then me and A spent a good couple of hours at Inverness_Museum_&_Art_Gallery, very enjoyable. For me it is the perfect size - we managed to get around everything, but by then were ready to go.
We then went off and got some shopping, we both got a nice top for ourselves. I managed to find yet another book: Italian_in_10_minutes_a_day, so we will be getting stuck into that from next week. And A bought another fashion sticker book (she's very keen on these).

Tonight we are having a girlie night in together, which will involve: chocolate; coke (for A); cider (for me); a DVD; more chocolate; pyjamas; blankets; cuddles; a bit more chocolate; lots of laughter :-))

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Singing Nonno!!

I had to post this link which A's auntie just sent to me - this is A's lovely Nonno singing on YouTube. Hope you enjoy :-)

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Happy Birthday to me!

Its my birthday today! Although I feel I've already celebrated - had a nice night out on Saturday with a couple of lovely mates at Simply_Red. I love this restaurant, they put on a vegan special for us, as well as having a vegan option on the main menu. They even had a vegan desert!! (Very rare).
I celebrated with A yesterday, as I work on Tuesdays so she spends the day with Granny, and she wanted to see me open my presents. A got me this beautiful mug (with her own money, she proudly told me!)

the other side says: nothing can compare to the love and friendship we share. She even brought it to me in bed, filled with tea. What a lucky mum I am.

Not much else happening, birthdays take up so much time! So here are some pics I took on Sunday morning, on a walk round Findhorn_Bay.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

So, A had her party. I took them all for lunch first at a little cafe down the road. I had mentioned when I booked the table that it was a birthday thing, but hadn't expected them to do anything special, so I was really touched when they brought out a cake with candles once the girls had finished their lunch, and all the waitresses stood round and sang happy birthday! What lovely people.
The party went ok , I think. There was some of the bitchiness that seems so common among girls of this age. I'm sure I was the same at that age (cant remember - it was so long ago) but its horrible to see, they can be quite brutal. But for the most part I think they had fun. Below is a very poor photo of the disco lights.

We finished Chocolat on Monday, and went straight down to the library to get The_Lollipop_Shoes, which is the sequel to Chocolat. A is really enjoying these, despite my very bad pronounciation of all the French words. Apart from all the mouth watering descriptions of the chocolates and sweets, the stories focus on the relationship between a single mother and her daughter, something we can relate to of course.
A has been using the BBC Bitesize numeracy and literacy games, I thought this would make a change from the workbooks for a while. She seems to be enjoying them, although still a bit wary of anything that looks too mathsy.
We also had a look at the projects she has on the go, and she's decided to focus again on her mushroom one, and try to get it completed. She has lots of photos of wild mushrooms that she took last year, and a few books for reference, so is going to fill a scrapbook with the pics and her own notes. I think its important for her to take some of these projects to a conclusion, I know myself - its so easy to get enthusiastic about something, and then leave it half finished when something more interesting comes along. I know she's still learning when this happens, but I think it will give her a sense of achievement to produce a finished piece of work. On a more practical/boring level, I want to build up a file of her work, for my own reference and also to show any LEA bods who might check up on us at any point.
I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed at present. There seems to be so much I need to do. I'm doing a freelance journalism course, with a view to become self-employed in the near future; I'd like to get more organised with HE resources and aims; I need to start preparing if we are going to move. Its that feeling of it all being so chaotic and disorganised, and the amount of time it will take to get it all sorted. I know I need to manage my time better if I am going to be self employed - I need to put the hours in - but all I really want to do is focus on A and give her all of my time that she needs. I think I might start making 'to do' lists on a daily or weekly basis, hopefully this will give me a bit more clarity about what I need to achieve, one step at a time.

Friday, 16 January 2009

Science, hair dye and Chocolat

Had a great workshop on Wednesday with the home ed group - The_Renewable_Energy_Roadshow did two sessions with the kids. The first had them all in lab coats doing experiments with dry ice, then after lunch they looked at sources of renewable energy, and in small groups had to decide on what kinds of renewable energy they would use in a fictional town/village. Each group had a map and info about their designated town, and discussed what they would do, then presented their decisions to the other groups.
A really enjoyed the whole thing, I think it was great for her to work in a group on this sort of subject. I also got the chance to chat with some other home ed parents, and met one or two I hadn't seen before. Thats one of the good things about our network - its so huge you always seem to meet different people at different events.
A investigating solar power

The only slight concern I have at the moment is the lack of a regular social group/meet for A. I'm really happy with our home ed group, but the way it works is various people come up with different ideas and if there's enough interest someone organises it, and it all seems to come together (well, thats my experience so far). And it does work well for us, as we go to the things we're interested in, and there's no pressure to turn up to things we're not so into. The downside is that A isn't developing any close friendships within the group as the meetings are so sporadic. She gets on well with several of the girls, but we don't see them that often. This isn't a huge problem - she still has friends from her old school, and she doesn't seem lonely, but thinking about the future I wonder if it might be a good idea for her to find a way of building up some friendships locally. She is a very social person, and I hate the idea of her becoming isolated, especially as she gets older and becomes more independent (and basically wants to get away from her mother!!). So at the moment I am toying with the idea of persuading A to join the Girl_Guides. This is a very strange concept for me, as I have huge issues with the history of Scouts/Guides, the religious aspect, and the whole promising to serve Queen and country thing. Not my bag really. But I can also see how it might be a really positive opportunity for A socially. I've just got to persuade her of that now.

We had a lovely, meandering type of day today. Got up late after some dramatics last night (A's continuing problems with getting to sleep, and my annoyance at her many trips out of bed while I was trying to watch a film. It really doesn't help matters when I get annoyed, you'd think I would have learned that by now). We then put some blue/black dye in A's hair (see blurry pic below).

We spent a lot of time reading Chocolat by Joanne Harris, I've been reading this (on and off) to A for a couple of months now, and she is really enjoying it. Of course, we had to eat some chocolate too, its impossible to read the book without suffering terrible cravings for it!
A has also been preparing the flat for her mini party tomorrow. Should be fun!?

Tuesday, 13 January 2009


A is now 10! She got some lovely presents - I got her a karaoke machine, and my brother and his partner got her some glitter ball disco lights to go with it, so she'll have fun with her mates on Saturday with those (I might hide in my bedroom with some earplugs!)

The cake I made for A and my Mum (their birthdays are 1 day apart)
A and Granny blowing out their candles!

Saturday, 10 January 2009

History, birthdays, and possibility of a move

I think my blogging is slowing down, but I am trying to spend a little less time on the computer as it felt like it was taking over. I'm happier if we have days when the computer isn't on at all, because once its on we both tend to drift back to it throughout the day. A isn't too bothered, she enjoys playing and investigating stuff online, but generally doesn't think about it unless the machine is on.

A really got into The_Diary_of_Anne_Frank which was on BBC1 all last week. After the final one last night we switched over to BBC4 and watched Anne_Frank_Remembered, a brilliant 2 hour documentary. I didn't think A would want to watch the whole thing, and warned her that there would be very upsetting images and descriptions about the concentration camps, but she was engrossed.
We also enjoyed A_History_of_Scotland, which last week focused on AD 84 - 943. Tonights looks at events in the thirteenth century. It seems to be covering a lot of what I read in James Hunter's The_Last_of_the_Free, a wonderful book, very readable for a 'history' book. It really blows away all the romantic patriotic nonsense you sometimes hear up here (I'm half Scottish and half English - quite an uncomfortable legacy at times!)

Its A's 10th birthday next week!! Plans have changed from a swimming party and sleepover, to lunch at a local restaurant and a few hours back at ours for cake and 'play' (seems like the wrong term for these very grown up 10/11 year olds, but I cant think of what else to call it!). There will just be five of them, so a nice little group.
I'm quite pleased about the way its turned out, its a shame she didn't get her swim, but problems with pools in the area (closed because of burst pipes, weird opening times) made it difficult to organise. The sleepover is something I wasn't particularly looking forward to anyway, but A has been having bedtime problems for the last week or so, so decided herself it wasn't a good idea. She's in with me at night at the moment, which is ok but not ideal as I need SPACE. Not sure where this all came from, she just gets very anxious and frustrated about not being able to get to sleep, and it turns into a cycle of getting upset about not getting to sleep and not getting to sleep cos she's so upset. I'm just playing it by ear and trying to give her what she needs just now. We are giving her room a big clear out and make over, and I'm hoping that might help. We shall see...

We have been discussing the idea of moving which I mentioned in my last posting, and A - initially very against the idea - is now listing what she wants in our new place! Anyway, its definately on the cards now. We will start looking at places soon I think, but will be very discriminating! I'm not moving until I'm really convinced that the new place will be better. We've been here for over six years, and the thought of all the upheaval of packing everything in boxes and physically moving fills me with dread, but as my friend said 'you just fix the date, hire a van and call a few friends to help' - simple as that !?! But I know what she's saying, it is doable, I'm lucky enough to have friends who will help. Its all about perspective.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Frosted beauty & New Year

Managed to get some nice photos of the severe frost we had last week. It was very, very beautiful, but not much fun living in an old, poorly insulated building! I've been very careful about not having the heating on much because of the cost, so we've relied much more on the wood burner in the living room. But when I went out to make the dinner the other night - away from the fire which we'd been huddled round - within minutes my fingers were numb with the cold. Mind you, the temperature did drop to -14 degrees at one point!
It has made me think about moving, but I'm not sure really. I do love living in such a secluded beautiful place, with a nice helpful landlord; but a modern, well insulated flat would be much more cost efficient. There is also the fact that we no longer have a car, so it would make sense to be living in the town. I'm going to start looking around for a new place, but am still not sure...

This is a (rather blurry - yes I had started the wine) picture of where we spent new year - in bed under two duvets!! We both toasted the new year with bubbly (A's was sprite) and wrote out a few 'aspirations' (resolutions are too rigid for me).

Sort of getting back to normal now (whatever that is). We need to write our thankyou letters today, then A has a friend over for the night tomorrow. After that the schools are back so A's friends wont be so available, so we'll settle back into our vague HE routine. A couple of home ed group activities coming up, which will be good.
And also - A's 10th birthday in a week and a bit!!!! I'd better start getting organised!!